Alfred Uhry’s Latest to Tell of Church Kidnapping

News   Alfred Uhry’s Latest to Tell of Church Kidnapping "I always seem to write about conflicted Jews," Alfred Uhry, author of Driving Miss Daisy, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and the book for Parade, told Playbill On-Line. "And these are sure as hell conflicted."

"I always seem to write about conflicted Jews," Alfred Uhry, author of Driving Miss Daisy, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and the book for Parade, told Playbill On-Line. "And these are sure as hell conflicted." Uhry was referring to characters in his latest play-in-progress, a drama based on David Kertzer’s historical biography, "The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortaro." The playwright expects a finished first draft and a reading by the end of this year.

"It’s a little daunting," Uhry said. "There are no Americans, no southerners. It’s the true story in the 19th century of a Jewish child thought to be dying. The nurse baptized him because she didn’t want him to go to hell. The child didn’t die, but because he was baptized, and it was a papal state, it was illegal for him to live in a Jewish household. So the church came and took him away in the middle of the night. The play is about the parents trying to get him back.”

Jane Harmon, who commissioned the as-yet-untitled play, initially brought the book to Uhry’s attention. "I had never heard of the book, but it’s a very famous case in the 19th century. I was immediately attracted to it."